Jan 08 2015

Ten years ago: Australia Unites

On Boxing Day 2004, an earthquake off the Indonesian coast triggered a tsunami that caused massive devastation to a number of countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives and Somalia.

Over 200,000 people were killed by the tsunami with many more injured or unaccounted for. Whole towns and villages were decimated.

Two weeks after the tsunami, Australia’s Seven, Nine and Ten networks held a history-making telethon for aid organisation World Vision to raise funds for the relief effort. It was a rare show of unity among rival networks.


Australia Unites: Reach Out To Asia was held on Saturday 8 January 2005. The telecas,t was hosted by Andrew O’Keefe (Deal Or No Deal, Seven), Rove McManus (Rove Live, Ten) and Eddie McGuire (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Nine). Joining them as part of the telethon were presenters and celebrities from all three networks, including David Koch and Melissa Doyle from Sunrise (Seven), Larry Emdur (The Price Is Right, Nine), Gretel Killeen (Big Brother, Ten), Catriona Rowntree (Getaway, Nine), Bert Newton (Good Morning Australia, Ten), Daryl Somers (Dancing With The Stars, Seven), Richard Wilkins (Today, Nine), Peter Helliar (Rove Live, Ten) plus cast members of various network programs.

Ray Martin (A Current Affair) was reporting from Aceh, Indonesia, one of the most significantly devastated regions. There were also live crosses to Christine Spiteri in Sri Lanka and Chris Reason and Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum in Phuket.

The telethon was based at Telstra Dome (now Etihad Stadium) in Melbourne with an open-air concert held outside the Sydney Opera House, featuring performances by Jet, Spiderbait, Missy Higgins, Killing Heidi, Kasey Chambers, Noiseworks, The Dissociatives, Guy Sebastian and Alex Lloyd.

The telecast was broadcast simultaneously across Seven, Nine and Ten networks, radio Triple M and internationally via the ABC‘s Australia Network which broadcast to some of the countries affected by the disaster.

Australia Unites: Reach Out To Asia achieved a total of $20 million in donations and ticket sales.

The video below is the opening segment of the telethon, including introductions from the various presenters:

YouTube: Television.AU

And some screen captures from the same video and some of the network promotions:

australiaunitesaustraliaunites_0001australiaunites_0002australiaunites_0003australiaunites_0004australiaunites_0011australiaunites_0005australiaunites_0012australiaunites_0006australiaunites_0007 australiaunites_0008 australiaunites_0009

Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2015/01/ten-years-ago-australia-unites.html

Jan 08 2015

Ratings 2014: The final scorecard

oztam_0001OzTAM, the official ratings ‘umpire’, has released its final reports for the calendar year 2014.

The reports include consolidated audience figures for the Top 20 programs (including those various reality show ‘winner announced’ segments that are not actual programs), Top 20 multi-channel programs, the most time-shifted programs and where each free-to-air network and channel ended the year. Plus there are rankings for the Top 20 Subscription TV programs and time-shifted programs.

Seven ended the year on 30.1 per cent (down 0.5 from last year), followed by Nine (28.9%, up 0.6), Ten (18.1%, up 0.8), ABC (17.7%, down 0.4) and SBS (5.3%, down 0.3).  (6pm-12mn, 5 cities)

At individual channel level: Seven (21.7%, down 1.2) won ahead of Nine (20.9%, up 0.2), ABC (12.8%, down 0.6), Ten (12.1%, up 0.3), GO (4.7%), 7TWO (4.6%), SBS One (4.2%, down 0.4), 7mate (3.9%), GEM (3.4%), One and Eleven (3.0% each), ABC2 (2.8%), ABC News 24 (1.1%), ABC3 and SBS2 (0.9% each) and NITV (0.1%).

Datacast channels (e.g. TVSN, Extra/Gold, TV4ME, Fresh Ideas TV, Spree) and community TV channels (C31, TVS, 31 Digital, 44 Adelaide, WTV) are not included in the ratings.

Top 20 programs on Free-to-Air for the year 1 January to 31 December 2014 (Consolidated. 5 cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth):

1 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V HAWTHORN Network 7 2,828,000 551,000 1,321,000 275,000 304,000 377,000
2 MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 7 2,712,000 772,000 757,000 481,000 339,000 364,000
3 THE BLOCK GLASSHOUSE -WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 9 2,687,000 795,000 916,000 481,000 238,000 258,000
4 RUGBY LEAGUE GRAND FINAL Network 9 2,621,000 1,205,000 507,000 630,000 120,000 159,000
5 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE NSW V QLD 2ND – MATCH Network 9 2,600,000 1,221,000 422,000 865,000 92,000
6 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONS Network 7 2,565,000 396,000 1,266,000 250,000 295,000 359,000
7 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 1ST – MATCH Network 9 2,530,000 1,259,000 432,000 750,000 89,000
8 MY KITCHEN RULES-GRAND FINAL Network 7 2,408,000 687,000 640,000 452,000 304,000 325,000
9 THE BLOCK GLASSHOUSE -AUCTION Network 9 2,379,000 707,000 810,000 424,000 203,000 235,000
10 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -AUCTIONS Network 9 2,271,000 700,000 757,000 398,000 181,000 235,000
11 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 9 2,265,000 716,000 765,000 370,000 183,000 232,000
12 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 1 Network 7 2,243,000 614,000 702,000 389,000 255,000 283,000
13 THE VOICE -LAUNCH Network 9 2,229,000 716,000 735,000 357,000 232,000 190,000
14 SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ON THE GROUND Network 7 2,188,000 385,000 1,098,000 197,000 191,000 318,000
15 THE 2014 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACE Network 7 2,184,000 567,000 963,000 323,000 152,000 179,000
16 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 2 Network 7 2,081,000 578,000 634,000 332,000 240,000 297,000
17 HOUSE RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCED Network 7 2,070,000 518,000 608,000 400,000 211,000 332,000
18 STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 3RD – MATCH Network 9 2,057,000 948,000 309,000 751,000 49,000
19 THE BLOCK: FANS V FAVES -GRAND FINAL Network 9 1,999,000 602,000 673,000 358,000 154,000 213,000
20 THE VOICE -WED Network 9 1,979,000 642,000 603,000 366,000 192,000 177,000

Top 20 programs on the Free-to-Air digital multi-channels (5 cities):

1 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D6 EVENING Network ONE 582,000 130,000 180,000 96,000 83,000 92,000
2 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D4 EVENING Network ONE 559,000 151,000 213,000 133,000 63,000
3 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D7 EVENING Network ONE 550,000 152,000 153,000 111,000 63,000 72,000
4 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D1 EVENING Network ONE 547,000 115,000 146,000 125,000 70,000 91,000
5 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D4 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 511,000 99,000 133,000 135,000 49,000 94,000
6 SOCHI LIVE D2 AFTERNOON Network ONE 492,000 117,000 123,000 116,000 68,000 68,000
7 SOCHI LIVE D2 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 490,000 119,000 131,000 122,000 50,000 68,000
8 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D11 EVENING Network ONE 483,000 120,000 158,000 76,000 65,000 62,000
9 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D5 EVENING Network ONE 478,000 118,000 138,000 96,000 64,000 62,000
10 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D8 EVENING Network ONE 471,000 137,000 108,000 95,000 60,000 71,000
11 THE HUNGER GAMES -EV Network GO! 458,000 126,000 118,000 84,000 61,000 71,000
12 SOCHI ENCORE D1 AFTERNOON Network ONE 440,000 106,000 133,000 86,000 53,000 63,000
13 SOCHI LIVE D3 EVENING Network ONE 437,000 127,000 142,000 79,000 49,000 40,000
14 SEVEN’S TENNIS: 2014 AUST OPEN – NIGHT 2 Network 7TWO 416,000 101,000 106,000 94,000 88,000 26,000
15 SEVEN’S V8 SUPERCARS ROUND 11: BATHURST D3 THE PODIUM Network 7mate 401,000 174,000 177,000 50,000
16 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D3 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 397,000 100,000 101,000 86,000 62,000 48,000
17 SOCHI LIVE D9 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 391,000 116,000 117,000 76,000 42,000 42,000
18 HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE -EV Network GO! 387,000 97,000 137,000 60,000 47,000 46,000
19 GLASGOW LIVE (ONE) D7 EARLY EVENING Network ONE 387,000 90,000 97,000 77,000 42,000 81,000
20 ZOOKEEPER -EV Network GO! 383,000 118,000 92,000 88,000 49,000 36,000

Top 20 Time-Shifted Free-to-Air Programs (5 cities):

1 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 2 Network 7 2,081,000 1,766,000 316,000 17.9%
2 INXS: NEVER TEAR US APART – PART 1 Network 7 2,243,000 1,967,000 276,000 14.1%
3 LOVE CHILD Network 9 1,466,000 1,200,000 266,000 22.2%
4 DOWNTON ABBEY Network 7 1,292,000 1,041,000 250,000 24.0%
5 A PLACE TO CALL HOME Network 7 1,154,000 909,000 245,000 26.9%
6 HOUSE HUSBANDS -EP2 Network 9 1,191,000 951,000 241,000 25.3%
7 THE KILLING FIELD Network 7 1,405,000 1,166,000 239,000 20.5%
8 JACK IRISH: DEAD POINT-EV Network ABC 1,004,000 779,000 225,000 28.9%
9 REVENGE-EP.2 Network 7 949,000 729,000 220,000 30.2%
10 THE BLACKLIST Network 7 1,036,000 827,000 210,000 25.4%
11 REVENGE Network 7 1,063,000 865,000 197,000 22.8%
12 ANZAC GIRLS-EV Network ABC 1,033,000 848,000 185,000 21.8%
13 OLD SCHOOL-EV Network ABC 883,000 700,000 184,000 26.2%
14 OFFSPRING Network TEN 1,027,000 847,000 181,000 21.3%
15 FAT TONY & CO -EP2 Network 9 1,227,000 1,051,000 176,000 16.7%
16 HOUSE HUSBANDS Network 9 1,060,000 884,000 176,000 19.8%
17 THE CODE-EV Network ABC 764,000 589,000 175,000 29.7%
18 THE MENTALIST -SUN EP2 Network 9 625,000 451,000 175,000 38.8%

Top 20 Subscription TV Programs (national):


Top 20 Time-Shifted Subscription TV Programs (national):

1 FROZEN SING-ALONG Foxtel Movies Disney 113,000 16,000 98,000 625.0%
2 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 111,000 20,000 91,000 457.1%
3 DESPICABLE ME 2 Foxtel Movies Family 138,000 58,000 80,000 139.5%
4 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 136,000 56,000 79,000 140.6%
5 DESPICABLE ME 2 Foxtel Movies Family 97,000 19,000 78,000 399.5%
6 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 140,000 64,000 76,000 118.8%
7 FROZEN Foxtel Movies Disney 78,000 2,000 76,000 5020.8%
8 THE WOLVERINE Foxtel Movies Premiere 180,000 105,000 75,000 71.2%
9 MAN OF STEEL Foxtel Movies Premiere 155,000 81,000 74,000 90.8%
10 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Foxtel Movies Premiere 181,000 108,000 73,000 67.7%
11 TOM AND JERRY Boomerang 74,000 1,000 73,000 5553.6%
12 THE FLASH FOX8 167,000 95,000 72,000 75.7%
13 MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Foxtel Movies Disney 120,000 49,000 71,000 143.1%
14 THE FLASH FOX8 195,000 124,000 71,000 56.8%
15 THOR: THE DARK WORLD Foxtel Movies Premiere 174,000 104,000 70,000 66.9%
16 IRON MAN 3 Foxtel Movies Premiere 134,000 66,000 69,000 104.6%
17 THE INTERNSHIP Foxtel Movies Premiere 155,000 87,000 68,000 78.8%
18 HART OF DIXIE FOX8 114,000 47,000 67,000 142.9%
19 SONS OF ANARCHY showcase 80,000 14,000 67,000 490.9%
20 LAH-LAH’S ADVENTURES CBeebies 66,000 0 66,000

Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2014. The Data may not be reproduced,
published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in
part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM.





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2015/01/ratings-2014-the-final-scorecard.html

Jan 05 2015

1995: January 7-13

tvweek_070195Summer Bay babes slam their critics
Three of the teen stars of Home And Away are not letting the snide remarks and criticism of their jobs get them down. Isla Fisher, who plays Shannon, says: “At 18, we shouldn’t be making this amount of money. We wouldn’t earn this at Macca’s and we wouldn’t earn this after 10 years at uni, so I think we’re doing very well.” Tempany Deckert (Selina) told TV Week, “All of us catch cabs and you go past all these people in their suits and their cars and you think, ‘You’re going to sit in an office all day doing something you probably don’t really like and then go home’. Whereas we go to work and get to talk to heaps of different people.” Melissa George (Angel) said, “I don’t want to look back to Home And Away and say, ‘I don’t believe I did that’, because I’m enjoying it so much now. There’s no reason why I should ever feel ashamed. I think whatever you do, as long as you’re happy, it’s made for you.”

Logies: The event of ’95
This week marks the start of the countdown to the 37th annual TV Week Logie Awards, to be held in April and broadcast on the Seven Network. Bob Campbell, Seven’s managing director, said the Logies will be “a fabulous night, coupled with a mighty ratings success.. the full resources of the network will be thrown behind 1995’s event.” Key details of the Logies, including host, guests and venue, are still to be announced but in the meantime viewers can place their votes for the twelve Most Popular award categories, including the Gold Logie for most popular personality on Australian television, using a coupon from the magazine.

deborraleefurnessFurness on fire!
Viewers may be in for a shock when they see Deborra-Lee Furness in her latest TV role. With a background of earthy, gutsy and antagonistic roles, plus an upcoming role as a lesbian cop in Halifax fp, she takes on the far more frivolous role of Delores Kennedy in Seven‘s new series Fire. Delores is described as the ‘suburban sexpot’, decked out in pinks, blues, spangles and clashing prints. “When I first had to audition, I said, ‘I’m totally wrong for this part!,” she told TV Week. “It was a little scary for me because it’s such a bold, brash character, and there’s a fine line there. You could really fall on your face with something like this.” Furness (pictured with Fire co-star Andy Anderson) will also appear on TV later this year as the lead in the ABC prison drama, Correlli.

Tim’s all-star rising
Former Doug Anthony Allstar Tim Ferguson is busy filming for Funky Squad, a send-up of Seventies cop shows being produced by the team behind Frontline. Meanwhile, he is also tipped to be host of Nine‘s proposed new game show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, a format that’s been a hit in the UK.


  • Actor Tony Bonner, best known from TV shows like Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, Cop Shop, Skyways and The Last Frontier, is taking on a much different role during January… as newsreader for regional network Prime Television‘s Gold Coast bulletin.
  • Former model Charlotte Dawson, who has been working behind the scenes on Nine‘s Looking Good and Money programs, will be Today‘s new fashion reporter, replacing Robin Galway.
  • annmareebiggarAgro’s Cartoon Connection host Ann-Maree Biggar (pictured) has quit the show after six years to take on a role as reporter for Seven‘s The Great Outdoors, which will be back soon in a revamped half-hour format.
  • The Seven Network will soon be producing an Australian version of the British game show Gladiators. The 13-episode series is set to be filmed at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in February.

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“Welcome again to the TV Week Logie Awards. Australia’s premier showbusiness awards are entering their 37th year, an incredible tradition in an industry which is yet to reach its 40th year in this country. We’ll probably never know whether those who instigated the awards, at what was then called TV-Radio Week, ever dreamed that, more than three decades on, they would not just still exist, but have thrived to become part of the Australian showbusiness scene. The word Logie — coined by Graham Kennedy after the first awards were presented on his show, In Melbourne Tonight — now is part of the Australian idiom. This year, the Seven Network will telecast the awards live from Melbourne in April. Some innovations made experimentally with the awards in 1994 will be retained in 1995; in other respects, they will return to what has become Logies tradition. The move from the traditional Friday to Sunday night will be discontinued. While the awards are no longer presented dinner-style, they are followed by a fairly large party. There were no reports of actors turning up early, knowing their lines and giving brilliant performances on a particular Monday morning last year!”

Program Highlights (Melbourne/Regional Victoria, January 7-13):
Saturday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket (9.50am, Nine/WIN), England versus Zimbabwe, is live from Brisbane, with commentators Richie Benaud, Tony Greig, Greg Chappell and Bill Lawry. The final day of the Hopman Cup (1.05pm, ABC) is live from Perth.

Sunday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket (9.50am, Nine/WIN), Australia versus Australia A, is live from Brisbane. Sunday night movies are Summer Rental (repeat, Seven/Prime), Bugsy (repeat, Nine/WIN) and The Big Chill (repeat, Ten).

Monday: Seven’s summer of tennis begins with the Peters New South Wales Open (11am, Seven), live from White City, Sydney, with commentators Garry Wilkinson, Wendy Turnbull, Pam Shriver, Peter Landy and Allan Stone. Daily coverage continues through to Sunday. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Helen (Anne Haddy) gets suspicious when Phil (Ian Rawlings) invites Molly (Robyn Hughan) to dinner.

Tuesday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket, Australia versus England, is live from Melbourne, with limited coverage in Melbourne (2.20pm to 4.30pm, Nine) and full coverage in Regional Victoria (2.20pm to 6pm, 7pm to 10pm, WIN). Jennifer Keyte’s World Around Us (7.30pm, Seven/Prime) continues Greg Grainger‘s travels through Italy.

brettblewittWednesday: There is more tennis, this time it’s the Colonial Classic, live from Kooyong, Melbourne (12pm, ABC), continuing through to Saturday. In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Brett (Brett Blewitt, pictured) and Libby (Kym Valentine) decide to run an experiment involving the school captaincy. Champion cyclist and former politician Sir Hubert Opperman is interviewed in A Life (9.40pm, ABC).

Thursday: The Benson And Hedges World Series Cricket, Australia A versus England, is live from Sydney (2.20pm to 6pm, 7pm to 10pm, Nine/WIN). The Best Of Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten) looks at Australia’s first database of surfing breaks; the future of animation; and unlocking the secrets of whales.

Friday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Bianca (Annie Gagliardi) and Marlene (Moya O’Sullivan) hatch a plan to turn the back of the shop into a drop-in centre.

Source: TV Week (Victoria Country edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 7 January 1995. Southdown Press





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2015/01/1995-january-7-13.html

Jan 03 2015

Retro Rage… the tradition continues

countdown_0002It’s been happening each January for many years, and 2015 is no exception. Rage is once again digging up the ABC archive for its annual retro month, starting tonight.

Kicking off retro month this year are six Countdown episodes — one episode from each of 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1986 — and a few extras thrown in.


COUNTDOWN October 12th, 1980 (Hall and Oats) (Rage)
COUNTDOWN April 26th, 1981 (Steve Kilbey) (Rage)
COUNTDOWN November 21st, 1982 (Jo Jo Zep and Jane Clifton) (Rage)
JO JO ZEP AND THE FALCONS – Live On Countdown Shape I’m In (Mushroom)
COUNTDOWN November 11th, 1984 (Austen Tayshus) (Rage)


AUSTEN TAYSHUS Xenaphobia (Independent)


COUNTDOWN November 10th, 1985 (Koo De Tah) (Rage)
COUNTDOWN December 21st, 1986 (Greedy Smith, Kim Wilde, OMD) (Rage)

Rage Retro Month, 12.15am tonight/Sunday morning and continues every Saturday night/Sunday morning in January. ABC

Source: Rage




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2015/01/retro-rage-the-tradition-continues.html

Jan 01 2015

Paying for TV’s new Galaxy

galaxyFor years we’d been getting TV “free” — although we’d been paying for it all along with our taxes and indirectly through mark ups on anything we bought.

But on 1 January 1995 — twenty years ago — television expanded into a new galaxy… literally.

Pay TV had finally arrived. Like with most other media in Australia, it took a long time to get here. As far back as 1981 there was an inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal into cable or pay TV in Australia. The inquiry received a number of submissions, including a proposal from a consortium of millionaire businessmen and media outlets to set up their own local cable TV system to high-rise buildings on the Gold Coast with later expansion into nearby suburban areas. The group, which included former Melbourne Lord Mayor Ron Walker, millionaire Sir Roderick Carnegie, Hoyts Theatres and Gold Coast radio station 4GG, proposed a three-channel service, covering a broad range of genres including a provision for R-rated content late at night. The radio station also had access to a television production facility which could lead to local programming being incorporated into the service.

paytv_goldcoastThere were also submissions from a North Queensland group representing local newspaper The Daily Bulletin, and a company called Creative Youth Enterprises Pty Ltd which proposed that any cable TV system be obliged to provide a channel exclusively for children.

For years afterwards, the concept of pay TV became much talked about and much politicised. There was deliberation over who would or could own it, what technology or delivery platform it would use and how it would source programming.

On Sunday 1 January 1995, at 4.00pm, an undisclosed number of households in Sydney and Melbourne became the first in Australia to experience pay television, as Galaxy first flickered on with a “soft launch” of its sports channel, Premier Sports Network, playing mostly pre-recorded sports coverage eight hours a day. Its first program was an American basketball match.

The next phase in Galaxy’s launch came on Australia Day, 26 January, with the expansion of Premier Sports Network (PSN) to a 24-hour service, including live sport. The first face seen on the properly launched channel was veteran Melbourne TV identity Ron Casey, best known as host of the long-running World Of Sport.

Joining PSN was an international news channel, ANBC.

galaxy_0009Subscription was $49.95 a month (waived until April) plus a $299 installation fee which was heavily subsidised by Galaxy to encourage new subscribers. The service was initially commercial-free as required by government legislation until mid 1997.

Over the coming months Galaxy’s channel suite would expand to two movie channels (Showtime and Encore), a general entertainment channel (Arena), two retro channels (TV1 and Classic Max), music channel (Red), children’s channel (Max) and a documentary channel (Quest).

Galaxy, owned by Australis Media, was being delivered to households via microwave transmission — provided that their rooftop antennas had line of sight to Galaxy’s microwave transmitters in the Sydney and Melbourne CBD. By March the service was available in Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.

Galaxy’s reach was later improved with the launch of satellite transmission and with Galaxy’s suite of channels being on-sold via rival Foxtel.

galaxy_0010Optusvision (a joint venture between Optus, Nine Network and Continental Cable Vision) and Foxtel (News Corporation and Telstra) launched later in 1995. Foxtel promised an initial offering of 20 channels (including eight Galaxy channels and re-transmission of the five free-to-air networks) while Optusvision offered twelve. Both providers were being distributed via cable and the rollout of cable was a little discriminating. Only a handful of suburbs were included in the initial stages. In those suburbs one street could be cabled up, but the one next to it might not be. Also, even though Foxtel had a cable in a street it didn’t mean Optus had one too.

Viewers that did find themselves with a choice of providers could also be conflicted in choosing as each of Galaxy, Optusvision and Foxtel had exclusive contact deals with separate film and TV distributors. If viewers wanted to subscribe to multiple providers then that meant multiple tuners and installation and subscription fees.

Galaxy, faced with aggressive pricing from Optusvision and Foxtel and with both offering more channels, was to have only a short life. With debts of around $1 billion Australis Media went into liquidation in 1998, leaving its estimated 70,000 customers faced with blank screens, though its channels continued to be carried via Foxtel.


Source: TV Week, 16 May 1981. Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 1994. The Age, 2 January 1995. Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 1995. Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 1995.





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2015/01/paying-for-tvs-new-galaxy.html

Dec 31 2014

2014: We remember…


Peter Benardos


James Condon


Charlotte Dawson


Wendy Hughes


Ian Ross


Paul Ramsay


Harry Potter


Leigh Spence


Ian Cook


Greg Coote


John Walton


Stephanie Quinlan


Bill Kerr


Kerrie Biddell


Russ Tyson


Barry McQueen


Elaine Lee


Tony Dickinson


Terence Gallacher


Mike Dorsey


Coralie Condon


Bobo Faulkner


Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/12/2014-we-remember.html

Dec 31 2014

And that was 2014

slider_2014And so another year has come to an end. The biggest milestone for the year was the 50th anniversary of the launch of what is now Network Ten. We started our 50th anniversary tribute back in January followed by a look at the first test programs in May, and as the official birthday — 1 August — got closer we looked at the life of the Melbourne channel that started it all, ATV0, and its development into the Ten Network with a series of posts over five days.

Also celebrating 50 years in 2014 were Prime7 stations in Albury (originally AMV4) and Wagga Wagga (originally RVN2). It was also 50 years since The Beatles hit our shores.

Fifty years ago, decades before podcasts became a thing, Melbourne personalities Pete Smith and Philip Brady were sending tapes of their own “radio” show, Broody’s Hide-Out, to listeners around the world.

homicide_0004It was 50 years since two of Australian television’s most significant programs emerged — Homicide and The Mavis Bramston Show — and it was 40 years since the launch of adults only soap The Box, Reg Grundy‘s first TV drama, Class Of ’74, and legendary rock music show Countdown.

The Number 96 movie celebrated its 40th anniversary with a screening in Sydney.

Australian television finally started to flicker into colour 40 years ago. As Darwin commemorated 40 years since Cyclone Tracy we looked at how TV responded in covering the aftermath and re-enacted the tragedy in a later mini-series.

Aggregation of regional television began 25 years ago — marking a new era in delivering commercial television to country viewers — and it was 20 years since Tasmania took part in the scheme.

biggirlsblouseIt was 20 years since Big Girls Blouse, the Fast Forward spin-off featuring Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski, made its debut, and 20 years since Melbourne community TV channel C31 was officially launched.

As Neighbours approached its 7000th episode, two of its longest-serving actors — Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne — celebrated 20 years since their characters first appeared in Ramsay Street.

We remembered some classic TV shows: Video Village, Ready When You Are CB and an ABC sitcom, Who Do You Think You Are?. We looked at some of the obscure wonders of overnight television and remembered some classic Aussie TV themes — and we looked at the year 1994 as reported in the pages of TV Week.

It was the year that the Abbott Government started putting the boot into government and community broadcasting — with ABC’s ten-year contract for Australia Network terminated; both ABC and SBS subjected to efficiency reviews and ongoing budget cuts in what was a clear breach of a succinct promise made by then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on the eve of the 2013 election; and the community TV sector told, out of the blue and without any consultation, that the government was withdrawing the sector’s access to free-to-air broadcasting at the end of 2015. Aspirant community broadcaster Hunter TV was also informed that its application for a broadcasting licence was not to be granted.

Les Murray signed off from SBS after 34 years with the network, and Bert Newton quietly exited the Nine Network. Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton ended their 28 year on-screen partnership as At The Movies came to a close.

Today Tonight was axed on the east coast, replaced by an extension of the 6.00pm Seven News, and Nine News expanded to a one-hour bulletin in its major capital city markets.

adambolandThe news wasn’t good for Ten as breakfast show Wake Up failed to trigger any significant audience response, the network’s director of morning television, Adam Boland (pictured) resigned from television and more brutal staff redundancies were made across the network as it sought to stem significant financial losses. Lachlan Murdoch stepped down as Chairman of Ten’s parent company, replaced by CEO Hamish McLennan. Having the Winter Olympics, Big Bash League and the Commonwealth Games at least gave the network some optimistic numbers, as did the return of MasterChef Australia and what might be the final series of Offspring.

The Seven Network gained the rights to Olympic Games coverage through to 2020 as well as secured the rights to the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast.

peterharveyThe Block‘s Scott Cam won the TV Week Gold Logie and the late Peter Harvey (pictured) was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards Hall of Fame, and actress Jacki Weaver was given a lifetime achievement award at the AACTA Awards.

In the ratings contest, Seven ended the year with the main prize — 6pm to 12 midnight across the 5 main cities — but each network found their own reason to celebrate even if it required moving certain goal posts.

So what to expect in 2015?

Well it looks like that despite some reality TV fatigue setting in during 2014 there will be plenty of reality TV next year — with My Kitchen Rules, House Rules, The X Factor, The Block, The Voice, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, Dancing With The Stars and MasterChef Australia all to return, to be joined by I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Restaurant Revolution, Married At First Sight (originally scheduled for 2014) and The Bachelorette.

Reality of a different kind will come to Australia with Gogglebox, presented jointly between Ten and Foxtel, and Shark Tank will give budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their business ventures and projects a reality.

New dramas include Australia The Story Of Us, Winter (the spin-off series to this year’s The Killing Field), 800 Words, Glitch, Catching Milat, The House Of Hancock, The Peter Brock Story, The Secret River, The Beautiful Lie, The Principal, Mary: The Making Of A Princess and Nine’s epic mini-series Gallipoli.

Returning dramas include Home And Away, House Husbands, Love Child, Winners And Losers, Redfern Now, Wonderland, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Still to be confirmed are Offspring and Party Tricks, although the former tied up its last series to a tidy conclusion the latter has set itself up for a second series but did not get the same ratings.

A Place To Call Home will resurface on Foxtel after being axed by Seven during the year, and Wentworth will be back on Foxtel for another series.

Neighbours will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a special featuring interviews with past series cast members.

Comedy will be largely represented by ABC with the return of Mad As Hell, Gruen, Please Like Me and Utopia; new series The Ex-PM and Sammy J And Randy In Ricketts Lane; and a new project for Charlie Pickering. 8MMM and Maximum Choppage were both slated for 2014 but will now appear in 2015. SBS will launch Room 101 with Paul McDermott and present another series of Danger 5.

New and returning factual titles include The Great Australian Race Riot, Outback ER, Gold Coast Cops, Bondi Vet, Bondi Rescue, Go Back To Where You Came From, Who Do You Think You Are?, Restoration Australia, Redesign My Brain, Maddie Parry: Tough Jobs, Border Security, Struggle Street, Prison Songs and The Force.

Lifestyle shows The Living Room and Better Homes And Gardens are both returning, and SBS’ food genre features Poh Ling Yeow, Adam Liaw, Luke Nguyen, Shane Delia, Matthew Evans and Silvia Colloca.

In light entertainment, Have You Been Paying Attention? and Family Feud will be back for Ten and Rockwiz for SBS. SBS will again cover Tropfest, Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras and the Eurovision Song Contest.

As well as Nine’s Gallipoli mini-series, Seven will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous battle with documentary series Gallipoli: The Power Of Ten. ABC will present documentaries The Waves Of ANZAC Cove, The Waler: Australia’s Great Warhorse and Lest We Forget, What? ABC and ABC News 24 will also cover the ceremonies, dawn services and other events to commemorate the ANZAC centenary. Network Ten will present The First ANZACs, a series of documentary-dramas, and Foxtel will present Deadline Gallipoli.

There will be a number of TV milestones during the year, including the 50th anniversary of Network Ten stations in Sydney and Brisbane, Nine in Perth and Seven in Adelaide.

Television.AU will continue to monitor events surrounding Australian television, with an eye on the past and will again maintain its coverage of TV from 20 years ago as documented in the pages of TV Week.

Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for the year ahead!




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/12/and-that-was-2014.html

Dec 29 2014

Obituary: Bobo Faulkner

bobofaulknerBobo Faulkner, former model and Melbourne television personality, died earlier this month in the UK after a battle with cancer. She was 73.

Born Ann Minchin, she was given the nickname Bobo by her then husband, actor Trader Faulkner. She came to Australia from England in the late 1960s and was established as a model when she made the move to TV, co-hosting breakfast program Today for GTV9 with Mike Walsh.

She also made guest appearances in Division 4 and comedy series The Group.

In 1973, Faulkner featured in a controversial ABC documentary, The Polysaturated Male, where she defended the role of men in society and the challenges that men faced as the women’s liberation movement was in full swing.

Bobo Faulkner is survived by daughter Sasha and grandchildren Quinn, Eliza and Jamie.

Source: TV Times, 29 May 1968. TV Times, 31 March 1973. TV Week, 21 September 1968. IMDB. Sydney Morning Herald



Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/12/obituary-bobo-faulkner.html

Dec 29 2014

1995: December 31-January 6

tvweek_311294Soaps ’95
TV Week has the rundown of what to expect in TV’s returning dramas:

  • Blue Heelers, the hit new show of 1994, is back with cast regulars John Wood, Lisa McCune, William McInnes, Martin Sacks, Damien Walshe-Howling, Julie Nihill and Grant Bowler. An early episode sees Maggie (McCune) and Adam (Walshe-Howling) caught in a volatile and life-threatening situation in a nightclub. Detective Rose Egan (Dale Stevens), who appeared in the last episode of 1994, will continue at Mount Thomas police station going into 1995.
  • In Home And Away, the wedding plans of Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) are thrown some hurdles. Shane’s visiting mother, Ros (Angela Punch-McGregor), is meddling too much and sent back to the city, and Angel suffers severe injuries from a car accident with Alf (Ray Meagher) at the wheel.
  • georgieparker_0001Georgie Parker (pictured) heads the cast of Seven‘s new series Fire as firefighting recruit Morgan Cartwright, who finds herself tackling the sexist attitudes of her male colleagues at South East Fire Station. The series’ central plot focuses on the hunt for an arsonist who has a penchant for torching empty buildings. The investigation throws suspicion on the fire brigade itself and Morgan is pressured by the arson squad to be its mole at South East and report anything out of the ordinary. Fire also stars Peter Phelps, Max Phipps, Shane Feeney-Connor, Deborra-Lee Furness, Andy Anderson, Wayne Pygram, Aaron Jeffrey and Tayler Kane.
  • Heartbreak High returns to Ten in 1995 but without its Heartbreak Kid (Alex Dimitriades). Ernie Dingo will be a prominent guest star in the returning series, and other actors to make guest appearances include Joy Smithers and Grant Dodwell. Kym Wilson is returning as teacher Sam Robinson, and joining the cast is Vince Poletti, who plays the school principal’s nephew, Matt Logan.
  • When Janus (ABC) returns for another series, Steve Hennessey (Leon Teague) has escaped major drug charges, but big brother Mal (Brett Swain) is up before the bench on murder charges — and an armed hold-up and confrontation with the Tactical Response Squad ends in a fatality for the Hennessey family. Returning for series two of Janus are Chris Haywood, Tracy Mann, Jeremy Kewley, Louise Siversen, Denis Moore, Pauline Terry-Beitz and Simon Westaway.
  • peterrowsthornLaw Of The Land (Nine) will feature a controversial episode focusing on the relationship between a journalist (played by Bradley Hume) and his former lover (played by Michael Pope). The town of Merringanee is rocked by the journalist’s allegations that a youth rehabilitation centre has been built with “dirty” money. Law Of The Land will again star Lisa Hensley, Wyn Roberts and Peter O’Brien. Guest stars include Terry Serio, Tottie Goldsmith and comedian Peter Rowsthorn (pictured) in his first dramatic role.
  • Joining Police Rescue (ABC) in its new series are Frankie J Holden and Ada Nicodemou. A tragic bus crash and a siege in which the behaviour of the media is under the spotlight are major storylines in the new episodes. Returning cast for the new series includes Gary Sweet, Sonia Todd, Steve Bisley and Tammy MacIntosh.
  • In the series return of Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River (Nine), the Reverend Colin McGregor (Brett Climo) faces danger when his church is burnt to the ground as a result of his preaching on the wickedness of alcohol. The fire is a sign of disapproval by one of the local residents. Guest stars in the new series include David Gulpilil, Kym Wilson and Olivia Newton-John. Newton-John’s character, Joanna Walker, makes an impact in the high country after placing a newspaper advertisement looking for the father she hasn’t seen since she was a child. Matt McGregor’s (Andrew Clarke) support for Joanna is misinterpreted as a romantic interest.
  • Zoe Carides joins the cast of GP (ABC) as Dr Sonia Kapek. In new episodes of the series, Julie Winters (Denise Roberts) moves in as William’s (Michael Craig) new boarder after Martin Dempsey (Damian Rice) moves out to seek more independent living arrangements. Love is also in the air for William when his friendship with Eva (played by his real-life wife, Sue Walker) turns to romance. Guest stars during the year include Noel Hodda, Peter Sumner, Victoria Longley, Elaine Smith and Kym Wilson.
  • When Neighbours (Ten) returns, after being ditched at the altar by Mark (Bruce Samazan), Annalise (Kimberley Davies) finds support from Sam Kratz (Richard Grieve). There are still tensions when Mark re-affirms his decision to become a priest. Lou Carpenter’s (Tom Oliver) secret meetings are revealed not to be with another woman, but rather a daughter (played by Khym Lam) from a love affair that Lou had in Hong Kong many years ago. There is tension for Cody (Peta Brady) as she awaits her high school certificate results, and is hoping to score well enough to get into medical school. After the death of his wife, Julie (Julie Mullins), there is a hint of romance for Philip (Ian Rawlings), but this is not welcomed by daughter Hannah (Rebecca Ritters).


  • Children’s entertainment group The Wiggles, who have performed at around 370 sold-out concerts and who have sold 90,000 albums, are set to do a pilot for a TV series and there is also talk of them doing a film.
  • Over The Hill star Nic Testoni has signed on for a 12-week stint in Home And Away. He will appear as Travis, a drifter who arrives in Summer Bay and decides to stay.
  • TVTV‘s return for 1995 has been postponed by two weeks to 27 February. The series will return with a new look and pacier stories. Tiffany Lamb will be back, but co-host Mark Mitchell‘s future with the show is still to be determined.
  • Is Terence Donovan about to join son Jason in the upcoming Nine Network telemovie, The Last Bullet? Producers are looking for an actor to play Jason’s character as an older man and so his father seems a logical choice.
  • Mary Coustas‘ comedy series based around her character Effie was meant to go to air in 1994 but was shelved when Seven Network executives felt it wasn’t up to scratch. However, footage from the series, which includes Effie interviewing celebrities such as Bryan Brown and Elle Macpherson, may resurface in another project.

TV’s Top 20 — 1994: 

Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers
1 Rugby League: NSW v Qld. 2nd Nine Wed 3149000
2 Rugby League: NSW v Qld. 3rd Nine Mon 2952000
3 Rugby League: NSW v Qld. 1st Nine Mon 2662000
4 Movie: Crocodile Dundee Nine Sun 2499000
5 Movie: Strictly Ballroom Seven Sun 2487000
6 Movie: Pretty Woman Seven Sun 2378000
7 Movie: Patriot Games Nine Sun 2186000
8 Very Best Worst Drivers Nine Tue 2161000
9 Movie: The Bodyguard Nine Tue 2146000
10 Just Kidding Nine Tue 2141000
11 Movie: Naked Gun 2 Seven Sun 2040000
12 Winter Olympics: Day 11 Nine Thu 2020000
13 Movie: The Last Of The Mohicans Seven Sun 1979000
14 The World’s Greatest TV Commercials Seven Sun 1942000
15 Movie: The Naked Gun Seven Mon 1942000
16 Movie: Back To The Future Part III Ten Sun 1917000
17 The Very Best Of The Don Lane Show Nine Wed 1910000
18 Farm Aid: The Best For The Bush Nine Wed 1898000
19 Movie: Unforgiven Nine Sun 1887000
20 Movie: Under Siege Nine Wed 1718000

Lawrie Masterson: The View From Here

“It seems that, like their UK counterparts, Australian producers and networks have always been so much more daring than US producers in terms of nudity and sexual explicitness. But when it comes to confronting social issues head-on through comedy or drama, or creating the occasional anti-hero, we haven’t shone. The British, whose good television is very good, excel with their anti-heroes, none better than Neil Pearson‘s flawed copper Tony Clark in my favourite imported series of 1994, Between The Lines. The Americans, after years of their powerful moral majority keeping television’s petticoats tied to its toes, have relaxed a bit through, for instance, some of the Steve Bochco-produced dramas, such as NYPD Blue, and comedy series such as Grace Under Fire and Mad About You.”

Program Highlights (Melbourne/Regional Victoria, December 31-January 6):
Saturday (New Year’s Eve): Peter Mitchell presents 1994: The Big Picture (6.30pm, Seven/Prime), looking at the biggest moments of the year. The German-made comedy skit Dinner For One (7pm, SBS) makes its traditional New Year’s Eve appearance. The 2Day-FM/Coca-Cola Skyshow (11.55pm, Seven/Prime) brings in the new year from Sydney.

Sunday (New Year’s Day): Sport includes Baseball, Perth Heat v Waverly Reds (12pm, Ten), from Perth; Third Test, Australia v England (10.50am, Nine/WIN), live from Sydney; and Hopman Cup tennis (1pm, ABC), live from Perth. Sunday night movies are Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (repeat, Seven/Prime), The Last Emperor (repeat, Nine/WIN) and A Handful Of Dust (repeat, Ten). Sunday Stereo Special (7.30pm, ABC) features the annual New Year’s Day Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Monday: The Third Test (10.50am, Nine/WIN) continues through to Thursday, and Hopman Cup (1pm, ABC) continues to Wednesday. In the series return of Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Lou (Tom Oliver) reveals he is not having an affair, but the young Asian woman is his daughter.

Tuesday: In Jennifer Keyte’s World Around Us (7.30pm, Seven/Prime), Greg Grainger travels through Italy, from the Tuscany region through to the opera at Verona and a gondola regatta in Venice.

Wednesday: In Neighbours (6.30pm, Ten), Annalise (Kimberey Davies) sets her sights on Elliot Patterson (Jon Concannon) as the next man in her life. The documentary Cowboys And Asians (8.30pm, SBS) examines Australia’s relationship with Asia.

Thursday: In The Best Of Beyond 2000 (7.30pm, Ten), a look at how doctors are doing face lifts without surgery; winning the war against weeds with hot water; and the future of entertainment, Las Vegas style. The Hopman Cup (11pm, ABC) resumes from Burswood Entertainment Complex, Perth.

Friday: The Hopman Cup (1pm,ABC) continues competition.

Source: TV Week (Victoria Country edition), incorporating TV Times and TV Guide. 31 December 1994. Southdown Press




Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/12/1995-december-31-january-6.html

Dec 26 2014

The rise of Lee Lin Chin

leelinchinFor over 20 years Lee Lin Chin has been the quiet achiever of SBS news. She has read the weekend news with authority and, as the years went on, an insight into her exquisite wardrobe.

Her taste in fashion was also explored in the SBS series Fashionista.

But then, this year, she found herself embracing self-parody via SBS2‘s current affairs program The Feed – uncovering a penchant for beer, filmmaker Lars von Trier and ending any rivalry with a “fight to the death”.

And any appearance of male abs is bound to get the Lee Lin Chin approval rating: Five stars.

Chin’s dalliance with The Feed began in February. Under the guise of having to fulfil “contractual obligations” to SBS, Chin reluctantly scraped below her journalistic integrity to present flimsy showbiz and celebrity stories in “The Celebrity Chin Wag”, and opening the floodgates to an onslaught of “Chin” puns:

Then, after resigning from reading vacuous celebrity gossip, she moved into showing off her culinary prowess with “Lee Linguine”, unleashing more Chin puns (“it’s Chinner time”) and culminating with her making the trek to South Australia (“the butt crack of Australia”), breaking into celebrity cook Maggie Beer‘s kitchen studio and with knife in hand challenging Beer to a bloody battle:

Next, she revealed her playful side by carrying out some prank calls:

She called on her experience to offer helpful advice to viewers and also mentor a journalism graduate on the art of reading the news:

By August, Chin came together with rival network newsreaders Sandra Sully and Natalie Barr in “The Real Newsreaders Of Sydney”. It was an opportunity for her to show off her new bar and to impart some journalistic wisdom onto her commercial TV counterparts. Things turned awry when the accusations, and a stolen Walkley award, start flying:

SBS then expanded her profile with “The Lee Lin Chinnel” — 24 hours a day of Lee Lin Chin:

When SBS’ news boss decided to launch a morning show he thought that Lee Lin Chin should front it. In preparation, she is given a crash course in daytime TV techniques led by Larry Emdur and Kerri-Anne Kennerley. But she discovers that the morning show, Lee Lin Chin’s Cappu-Chin-o, is part of a secret plot to sell off the network:

The year draws to a dramatic climax as an earlier sledge at the ABC makes her the centre of a cross-network battle, fending off bitter rivals from ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten networks in a violent fight to the death:

The playlist of all Lee Lin Chin’s segments from The Feed can be seen on the SBS2 YouTube channel and, thanks to “those nerds” at The Feed, she is also on Twitter.





Permanent link to this article: http://televisionau.com/2014/12/the-rise-of-lee-lin-chin.html

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